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As we all know - ANIMALS RIGHTS IS NOT ANIMAL WELFARE. Sadly the inclusion of the animal rights agenda in many of the policies highlights just how far they have hoodwinked the different parties and individual politicians
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“In contrast, an animal rights approach is based on the view that animals should not be used in any way by humans. Now, that is the Animal Justice Party’s view, and it is wrong and it is hopeless. ” Bev McArthur, Liberal Party. Legislative Council, 8th Feb 22.
So, who stood up for your animals in this last term?
How have your state representatives performed in the past 3 years? Who has not just offered promises, but actually stood up and spoken to support you and your companion animals?
Remember: Vote below the line for any chance of your votes to count.
Our Traffic Light system this year considers how often each party spoke up in parliament for (or against!) your animals.
How did ACA place the Parties into the traffic light system?
(Click on the images to enlarge)
Explanations of the line items:
Increase Shelter & Rescue Services. Why is it important?
Over the past 3 years the Labor government have made drastic changes to animal keeping laws, in favour of Animal Rights instead of Animal Welfare. This has resulted in new and bigger welfare issues, and more Victorian animals going into shelters and rescues than ever seen before. As a result, this issue was raised on many occasions in the last term, by several Parties. Supporting rescues is important and necessary, but its also a short term solution to long term problems that are not currently being addressed.
Return Microchipped pets home faster. Why is it important?
This refers to a specific bill by Independent Catherine Cumming in the Legislative Council. This reversed older legislation that did not allow veterinarians and pet industry professionals to scan a microchip and return a lost pet without handing the pet over the local council pound (and the pound charging the owner reclaim fees). Three years later, this Bill was replicated into the Veticare Bill. This was universally supported by Parliament, as it was obviously poorly thought through legislation.
Support for Working Animals. Why is it important?
Police horses and dogs, guide dogs, emotional support animals, assistance animals, therapy animals, farm dogs and horses, carriage horses, petting farm and zoo animals, performance horses, and racing animals are the Working Animals that were discussed in Parliament this last term – mostly raised by the Coalition. Working Animals are integrated into our society, perform important functions for safety, health and biosecurity and most absolutely love their jobs. Working Animals can be many people’s only experience with live animals. These animals must remain protected in society, as they open the door to igniting people’s empathy and compassion for non human animals, they can ground people in a stressful situation, and give many people a reason to keep going on their worst days.
Support for Pets under Domestic Violence & Guardianship orders. Why is it important?
It has been recognised that domestic violence often affects pets and other animals in the home, not just through direct abuse, but as a means of controlling the caregiver. Escaping domestic violence is much more difficult when pets must be left behind, because there is no where for them to go. This results in many people staying in unsafe situations for much longer than they should. Guardianship orders affect the legal status of an animal owner, and legislation was proposed to introduce steps to legally keep pets with their owners under guardianship orders.
Veterinary Industry Support Measures. Why is it important?
The veterinary industry has been doing it tough nationally, with clients who have high expectations, but often, not very deep pockets. Vets perform many services for free – such as treating injured wildlife or stray animals, and this is not usually reimbursed. The highly emotional job is seeing more people leaving the industry than joining it, putting even more pressure on those working and trying to meet the shortfall. The last term saw many measures proposed to support the veterinary industry, particularly through Victoria’s extended lock downs. Labor proposed several measures including additional funding for training new and retraining existing staff, free training for industry professionals to perform certain procedures to take pressure off vets, and free vet nursing training. Veticare was the most recent proposal by Animal Justice Party to assist the veterinary industry, and will now progress to the development stage.
Supports Professional Animal Carers. Why is it important?
Animals cost money to care for. They are not free, and animal industries employ professional, qualified people to care for their animals and meet high welfare standards. Professional Animal Carers also need money to live, and should not be expected to work for free, if we genuinely want our State’s animals cared for to the standards we set for them. The Coalition highlighted most of the issues affecting professional animal carers in this term, primarily in relation to financial support during lock down, and drought/flood assistance.
Supports Cat & Dog Containment. Why is it important?
Responsible Pet Ownership is not just feeding and cleaning up after your pet, but also includes keeping your animals contained to your own property and not being a nuisance to your neighbours, passers-by and our native wildlife. Specifically tethering of dogs and containment of cats to their owner’s property were discussed in Parliament in this last term.
Supports Responsible Breeding. Why is it important?
Responsible, ethical breeding ensures that our pets and other domestic animals are healthy and addresses hereditary conditions. In Victoria in this last term, we have seen new laws introduced that blur the line between puppy farmers and ethical breeders. They are not the same thing, operate in opposition, and have contrasting welfare standards. The Coalition and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party were vocal in their support of ethical companion animal breeders. Greens and Animal Justice Party were very vocal in their opposition.
Improving public access for pets. Why is it important?
The Coalition and Labor both put forward initiatives to improve public access and spaces for pets. Labor loves announcing a new dog park, and the Coalition motioned changes to beach access and public rights of way to allow companion animals more access.
Count all the Animals. Why is it important?
This included several motions to count animals, from microchip registers, to brumbies, to the Pet Census. From the speeches in Parliament by almost exclusively animal rights focused Parties, ACA is concerned that the counting of animals appears to be less motivated by how the counts will improve welfare, and more about controlling the owners, and restricting who could keep animals. In 2019, Labor (supported by AJP) introduced the 5 animal limit on every Victorian household on less than 20 acres (via Planning Law amendment), to the detriment of Animal Welfare. ‘Counting the animals’ has now taken a sinister turn, and must be more carefully considered than before. Animal owners are understandably more wary.
Tougher penalties for Animal Rights Extremists. Why is it important?
Arriving en masse to someone’s home or business, ignoring biosecurity protocols, stealing animals, harassing businesses and staff, and getting a slap on the wrist in court made Victoria the joke of the Nation. There was no assurance that anyone could not turn up to any property and steal animals, especially with AJP candidates creating websites encouraging motivated activists to do exactly that. This bill did not affect genuine whistle blowers. Fortunately the Coalition, Labor Party, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and Reason Party voted to increase minimum penalties for Animal Rights Activists to prevent further welfare breaches. Greens, Animal Justice, and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party opposed these measures, all citing their ongoing support for their members.
Opposed Animal Rights/Animal Protection in law. Why is it important?
Animal Rights (aka Animal Protection) IS NOT Animal Welfare. Animal Rights is not related to animal care, husbandry or animal welfare science. It is a moral philosophy about how humans interact with animals, not about the animals themselves. Animal Rights has no place in Animal Welfare legislation. It belongs in an ethics class, and is an interesting topic of debate for academic philosophers. Keeping Animal Rights out of Animal Welfare legislation is important for Animal Welfare standards to continue to improve.
Increase Powers of Enforcement Officers without oversight. Why is it important?
Currently, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Enforcement Officers are overseen by charitable organisations without independent oversight or accountability. Several motions were made to increase powers of Enforcement Officers without also including measures to improve oversight or accountability. Issues already exist in every state in Australia with the current arrangements and giving more power to those without transparency is not a sound solution.
Party has published an Animal Welfare Policy. Why is it important?
Few Parties have a written Animal Welfare Policy. While ACA obviously prefers a clear Party Policy on what issues the Party will address in the near future, as we can see from the results of this last term of Parliament in the chart above, many parties without a written Welfare Policy have put forward good, practical bills, like Independent, Catherine Cumming, who saw the need for who was allowed to scan micro-chipping to be reversed, and took the action required, even though it wasn’t in her policies. Having no Animal Welfare policy is okay, more often than not. We can see in our chart above how these parties engage with companion animal issues, and decide to support them based on their past performance.
Party has NO Animal Rights Policies. Why is it important?
NOT having an Animal Rights Policy is much more important than the Party not having an Animal Welfare Policy. Animal Rights in NOT Animal Welfare, and when Rights are prioritised over welfare, animals suffer. Victoria has seen many new Animal Rights laws introduced in the past 3 years. With Labor holding a minority government, it appears clear to us, many deals with the Greens Party and Animal Justice Party were secured to support their (Labor’s) less popular policies (such as extended lock downs) in exchange for replacing Animal Welfare with Animals Rights Legislation (such as the current draft Plan of the former Animal Welfare Act – now called the Animal Care and Protection Act – not only removing welfare from the name, but from the document itself). Animal Rights is not harmless – it comes at the expense of real animals, in your home, right now.
Opposes the cap on animal ownership to a max of 5. Why is it important? This Land Use reform by the Labor Planning Minister was passed through both houses of Parliament in 2019, and clearly none of the ministers actually read it, because the issues did not become clear until Councils across the state began enforcing a that certain law. It limited the number of animals any household on less than 20 acres could own to no more than 5, and no more than 2 of any one species. Was this another example of the back room deals a minority government is forced to make? Quite likely. Few parties have made a stance against this law. Labor has now replaced the Planning Minister twice since then, and no change has come despite requests by stakeholders to do so. Animal Justice Party applauded the changes, and wanted assurances that these changes could not be rolled back in future. There are only two ways to correct this. One is with a change of government. The other is to ensure the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party who have an Animal Welfare Policy to amend this, and are the only Party that has publicly stated that they will address this, are returned into a position to pursue this – perhaps along with other Parties who might support such a motion.
References for the above:
Victoria still operates under a voting system where preferences deals can be made by the Parties and this opens the extreme likelihood of behind the scenes deals between many of the Parties in order to push their agendas. If you want to prevent this, do not vote above the line. Vote below the line, taking the time to number your preferences. When you go to the ballot box, be sure to remember who did deals with who during the last term of parliament. It is likely they’ll do them again. So choose carefully.